Candles and Fireplaces

By now, everyone knows that candles are a wonderful way to add warmth, romance, and a touch of mystery to any room of the house. But you may not have considered how to bring this warmth and romance to bear on your fireplace scene. After all, your fireplace is already going to have a fire going. Won't the candles be upstaged?

Well, in the first place, you won't have a fire going all the time. So having candles around the fireplace can bring the allure of dancing flames and flickering shadows when the fireplace isn't in use. Second, even when you have a fire going, candles around the area can have a framing effect to the main event. Far from being upstaged by the fire, surrounding candles add to the effect, helping to bring out the warm and cozy look you were hoping for when you started the fire in the first place.

The natural and obvious place to use candles is along the mantle shelf. There's an easy place to set them, and you can picture how they extend the romance of a roaring fire into the room a bit. This may be your chance to break out the candlesticks you received as a wedding gift. Or you may want to buy some in brass, pewter, bronze, silver, or gold. There's sure to be a candlestick that has the look you want.

As long as you're enhancing the view, though, why not enhance the aroma as well. Your local bed and bath store is sure to give you lots of choices in aroma. Get some sandalwood candles for a nice fresh scent. Try lemon-scented for a warm spring day. In the fall, break out the pumpkin and cranberry candles, perhaps both at the same time. And when winter rolls around, some ginger candles can make it smell like Santa's factory all day long.

A less obvious place to put candles is in the firebox itself. Naturally, you don't want to do this while there's a fire going. But some time in early spring, you're going to have your last fire of the season and then clean the fireplace up. That doesn't need to mean that your fireplace has seen the last of fire until the following fall. Your fireplace is built for fire, adding some safety to the procedure that you don't get when you perch candles on the mantle. A few large candles on short stands will give you a good effect. Lots of smaller candles will work as well. You can even purchase a fireplace candelabrum in any number of striking designs to hold the candles in a lovely arrangement.

Lastly, you can flank your fireplace with two or more candlestick holders that attach to the wall. These holders can add a real romance and charm to the room even when they're not in use. The arms curve gracefully out from a wall plate to support a long, tapered candlestick. Perhaps the whole thing is encased in glass if that's what looks good to you.

As with any fires, remember to be careful around them and not to place candles where they can be knocked over or catch something else on fire. Candles on the mantle and a dried wreath above it do not make a good combination. If you have small children or pets, be especially careful to place candles where they can't be knocked over and where inquiring hands can't reach up to inspect them.